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About Us

    About James & Thomas Funeral Directors

    James & Thomas Funeral Directors was formed with the amalgamation of two long established local builders and undertakers: E & W James of Cobham and Thomas of West Horsley.

    The teams at our Cobham, New Haw, Guildford, Merrow Heights, St Johns and East Horsley funeral homes will provide advice at every stage of the funeral planning process, and will arrange an individual and unique funeral to help you celebrate the life of your loved one. Our Merrow funeral home has its own service venue. 

    Here at James & Thomas Funeral Directors we also offer an affordable prepaid funeral plan, Choice, so that you can arrange and pay for a funeral in advance. This will protect your family from rising costs and remove uncertainty about your wishes.

    If you would like to talk to us about planning a funeral, or our Choice plan, please come and see us in any of our funeral homes, or if you’d rather we can arrange a home visit. We’re also available 24 hours a day on the phone so if you need anything please don’t hesitate to call your local funeral home.

    Meet the Team

    James Ray

    Deputy Regional Development Director

    I began my funeral career as a driver bearer at the age of 20 and discovered an aptitude for the profession, my hard work paid off and I was promoted to the post of a Funeral Director.

    In 2011 I was offered the chance of moving from Devon to Surrey to manage Woking Funeral Services and along with knowledge that we would soon be acquiring the James & Thomas Funeral Directors it was an opportunity not to be missed.

    I believe in high standards and quality of care, however my job is made easier because my team share the same beliefs and standards.

    My proudest moment

    All the clients I care for are individuals and I always feel privileged that they have entrusted their loved one into my care and immensely proud to be their chosen funeral director. Working with the ethnic communities around me is fast becoming my greatest achievement the satisfaction at the end of the day of having achieved what at first appears impossible is truly amazing.

    Personal Interests

    When you work in the funeral industry, one thing you learn from early on is that the job becomes a way of life and life fits around the work.  I’m married with two boys, who I love dearly, but my oter love is my 1976 VW Camper Betzie, which we restored from a rusty shell in just under 6 months. My team even got involved in this.

    Paula Ray

    Funeral Director

    What you like best about your role?

    I want to help families at a difficult time by making  the arranging process as stress free as possible  in being able to help say goodbye to their loved ones and making lasting memories.

    Specific memories/proudest moment at work

    Once the funeral has taken place, hearing back from the families about how grateful they were for all the help and support received in making the process run so smoothly

    Personal interests:

    I enjoy spending time with my family and going on days out and relaxing whilst watching a film.

    Brian Fish

    Funeral Director & Diary Manager

    What you like best about your role:

    The thought that I can help to ease some of the stress and strain for someone at a time when they are grieving on the loss of their loved one. Arranging a funeral can sometimes seem such a formidable task with so many things to do. This is where our role becomes so important as we offer gentle guidance and support throughout the funeral process.

    Have you done any other roles in the funeral profession?

    I have been involved in the funeral profession since 1967, beginning as a driver/bearer to funeral operative and then to my current position as a Funeral Director – I can say with confidence that I have covered most aspects of the funeral profession.

    Specific memories/proudest moment at work:

    All funerals have specific moments that confirm I have done my very best for a family; many funerals will remain in my memory forever and I feel honoured that I have played a part in creating some special memories.

    My proudest moment was arranging the funeral for a very young child, whose parents were naturally distraught, everything I did for them appeared to bring them some comfort and they were so appreciative of the care that I had shown their loved one.

    Personal interests:

    I have been a football referee for 43 years, reaching the National list of Match Officials in 1996. I still referee at Senior level and have been Secretary of Guildford Referees Society for 38 years. I have many other football related administration jobs within the County. After football my spare free time is spent with my family, reading or gardening.

    Angela Collyer

    Funeral Arranger

    Angela joined James & Thomas Funeral Directors in 2017 as a funeral arranger. She previously worked as a dental nurse on Woodbridge Hill for 29 years and is a well known face around Guildford.

    Angela says “My role as an funeral arranger is extremely rewarding and I enjoy helping families through very difficult times.”

    In her spare time Angela likes to walk her pet Shih Tzu Oscar and is very dedicated in supporting her son Luke through his passion for football. She is also a recently qualified Reiki Therapist.

    Julie Brown

    Funeral Arranger

    Julie joined James & Thomas Funeral Directors in March 2018 as a mobile funeral arranger. For the last 30 years she was a florist in and around Guildford where she has lived all her life.

    She says “I never thought I would leave floristry as I have always been passionate about my work, but after losing both my parents recently I decided I wanted to help and guide families during such hard and difficult times.

    I can honestly say that I absolutely love working here, it is very rewarding and I have had some lovely compliments, this job is so worthwhile.”
    In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her three children and family including her dog.

    Anita Smithers

    Funeral Arranger

    Anita joined James & Thomas Funeral Directors in October 2015 having previously worked for 23 years at the examining board. She began her time there in the Research and Statistics Department and her final role was in the Procurement Department.

    She says she enjoys “Being involved with a family, knowing that in some small way, I’ve made the most difficult time in their life, a little easier. I love it when clients drop in to the branch to see me, to let me know how they’re getting on, telling me their news. It’s the continuity and friendships which I enjoy, not just with a family but being part of the local community.”

    Anita has lived in the area all of her life and feels she can provide a wealth of local knowledge.

    Outside of work she enjoys spending time with the grandchildren. She is also involved with community fundraising in the village where she lives and can be found volunteering at a variety of events locally. Her other interests include theatre, cinema and travelling, having visited many European countries, India, Sri Lanka and a cruise through the Panama Canal.

    Liz Bayliss

    Funeral Arranger

    Liz has been working for James & Thomas Funeral Directors since 2018, and says it is the best role she’s had.
    Liz says “It’s not just a job and is very rewarding, there’s no such thing as a boring day at work. I feel privileged to be able to help when a family needs me most, relying on me to ensure everything runs smoothly and entrusting their loved one to me. I keep in touch with many of my families and some have become dear friends.”
    When not working Liz loves spending time with her family and animals, especially riding her horse as often as she can.

    David Blacker


    A former bus driver in Guildford, David joined the company in 1999. Having worked as a Funeral Operative, he is now the Foreman organising the day to day running of the service.
    He has a large family network and spends his spare time looking after them. He has a 1938 Austin Seven that he is currently restoring.

    Our Values


    We take pride in everything we do. Our aim is that everyone who works for Funeral Partners shares our values.

    Helping People

    Our business exists to help the bereaved to make fitting arrangements for their loved one’s last journey and to provide lasting memories for family and friends.

    We do this with a positive, caring and understanding approach.

    Respect for everyone

    We value diversity and treat everyone with the same respect, courtesy and dignity.

    Professional Standards

    We are a professional organisation and we strive to achieve the highest possible standards in everything we do and to improve upon these standards continuously.

    Accept responsibility

    We accept responsibility for our actions both as a company and as individuals.


    We believe that we can only achieve our goals by working together in partnership with client families, suppliers and our employees.

    Our locations

    We're available 24 hours 365 days a year

    Call 01932 862 009 visit branch or arrange a home visit